Diana McInally’s Story

It’s been almost 2 years since I suffered a subarachnoid hemorrhage. It happened four days after my 39th birthday. I went from chasing after my three year old daughter to being rushed in for emergency brain surgery due to a ruptured aneurysm. The onset was an initial headache and it felt like someone hit me on top of my head with a hammer. I was instantly dizzy, sensitive to light, and nauseous. My husband took me to the ER but I was sent home with a migraine diagnosis. Throughout the next week my headache got worse and on night 7, I woke up in the worst pain and without being able to open my eyes. I thought I was dying and I woke up my husband who called 911. I was rushed to the ER but I was not seen for hours. When I finally saw a nurse, she immediately went back to the migraine diagnosis. I was lucky for the fact that my husband had experience in his family with someone having an aneurysm previously and demanded that a doctor evaluate me further. Once the doctor came over, my husband told him everything that had been going on. A CT scan was ordered which found a 7mm aneurysm which was then coiled.

By the grace of God, my husband, and my amazing neurosurgeon and his team, I am here today! I spent almost two weeks in the ICU and when I was released from the hospital I couldn’t walk or write, and my memory was a blur. I lost strength and skill but I didn’t lose determination. I went through a lot of mental and emotional stress and was on pain medication for 18 months due to an ongoing chronic headache. I had to go to therapy because I was suffering from anxiety and PTSD, but therapy helped me immensely. I was able to find ways to deal with my anxiety and PTSD including how to feel comfortable driving again and going to small social events even though there were times I just wanted to stay home and hide from the world. Another side effect that I deal with every day is my hearing. It has become sensitive, and sounds are different to me. I can’t even hold the phone to my right ear, bc the sound is too loud. It’s amazing to me that after almost two years, I am still healing. I am fighting every day to recover so I can be “normal”, and get back to being a mommy and wife. Today, I am still battling nuero-fatigue and constant headaches but I am walking, taking care of my daughter, and while I am still coping with my trauma I am thriving and trying to live my life with purpose.

Rebuilding myself has been the biggest challenge I’ve ever had to face and although some days are better than others, I am incredibly thankful for each and every one. I am blessed to have the best husband who has not left my side since day one. He is one of the main reasons I am still here because he made sure that I received the right care. I will never be 100% “normal” after brain surgery but I am the best version of me I can possibly be. Sometimes I have moments when I grieve the loss of the old, healthier me but I am beyond thankful to be alive and I continue to live life knowing that we do not know what is in store for us and things can change dramatically in an instant.

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